Author Archives: Dylan Ander
5 Remodeling Projects to Do Before the Holidays The holidays are when you host your extended family in your home, so you want to have the coziest, best looking place for family to come together. Here are five affordable remodeling projects you can upgrade your home this month before hosting your entire family! 1 - Refinish Your Cabinets Brand new cabinets can cost you upwards of $10,000 so they’re not a “last minute project” type deal. But the DIY method for new cabinets costs around $200 in supplies. If you’re tackling this project yourself, give yourself two dedicated weekends to this project. If you’re interested in hiring a refinishing specialist, this will cost you between $900 and $3,000 depending on the size and quantity of cabinets you have. Ask your interior designer to help you find a color that compliments the rest of your kitchen if you are looking to change the color from what it was. This is one of the most affordable home remodeling projects for the holiday time! 2 - Add Storage, With Style! Storage is very important, especially with the high traffic of family members you’ll have throughout your kitchen and dining room. Especially during food preparation, it’s important that storage is easily accessible. Whether you have an island or not, open storage is a great match. This custom kitchen island was designed with open storage along two sides, so all the pots, pans, and glasses are within arms reach on both sides of the island.You can customize your previously existing cabinets to be the right height, width, and depth to be within arms reach while you prepare holiday dinners. 3 - Flip Your Entryway (On a Budget) With a budget of $1,000 to $1,500, you can transform the entryway into your home. When you greet your family at the front door, this is the first thing they’ll see. This puts them in a head space in which they will perceive the rest of the home positively. This is effectively the “first impression” a guest has of the inside of your home! 4 - Design A Room Around A Holiday Focal Point Christmas? Hannukah? Kwanzaa? Doesn’t matter what holiday you observe, decorate one “main room” where the family will congregate and spend the most time! Make it comfortable, spacious, and find home decor that gives a bright, cheery holiday feeling! 5 - Install A TV Above the Fireplace This one is pretty straight forward! Whether you’re showing a football game for your sports fans, or using Apple TV to show everyone’s baby pictures, a TV in your main room will improve the holiday dinner experience! Even if the TV isn’t on, it’s a great aesthetic and promotes happiness and entertainment even just lying in the background. Don't forget to have other activities set up for the children in the family! The adults will always have a better time when the kids are entertained. This is all important in the holiday dinner experience as a home owner and hostess for your family!
Let's be honest... Buying your first home is absolutely terrifying! Calling mom and dad every hour for advice on the process of making the purchase. There's real estate agents battling for your business, figuring what town to move to, bidding on the right home and trying to anticipate appreciation. Overwhelming is an understatement. Take a deep breath and read this article, working in the industry I do, I've seen the process first-time home buyers go through many times and here's what I've learned: 1 - Start Saving Early For A Down Payment It's wise to put 20% down if you have the funds, but now lenders allow you to put down as little as 3% on your home. If you put down less than 20% you may need to get private mortgage insurance, and those fees can get hefty. For example, 5% on a house for $300,000 is $15,000. Play around with some down payment calculators to get a sense of what you should be putting down on your first home. Set aside your tax refund or a small percent of your income each month towards your home down payment. This is why you have to start saving early! 2 - Budget For Closing Costs In addition to the down payment on a home, you'll need to factor in your closing costs on the mortgage. These typically cost 2% to 5% of the mortgage price. Don't forget that furnishing a home costs a pretty penny as well. Set this amount aside with your down payment number you calculate ahead of time. You can search ahead of time for the most affordable suppliers of homeowners insurance, inspections, and title searches. This is parallel to tip #1, but many forget about including these parts in your number you need for a down payment on a home. 3 - Type of Property You Want to Buy Don't get obsessed over how good the deal on a home is, don't compromise on the utility of your home. If you want to buy a single-family home, you'll have plenty of space and room for absolutely everything you want! But, this may not be the best fit for you. If you sacrifice that extra room you can afford more amenities and may be interested in a townhome or condo. There's so many options, make sure you explore absolutely everything before writing a check for your new home. 4 - Get a Preapproval Letter You can get prequalified for a loan, where a lender looks deeply into your finances and tells you how much money they'd be comfortable lending you and the rate of interest. It makes you look like a very serious buyer to be able to walk into an open house with a letter of preapproval. If you are offering the same bid on a house as another couple, this can be the difference between getting the home or not. It's a small effort that goes a long way. 5 - Make the Most of Open Houses Of course, the purpose of going to an open home is to see if you feel the home is a good fit for you and your family, but take a bit of extra time to examine the neighborhood around the home. There may be restaurants, houses around the area, even look at the types of cars in the driveways around the home you're looking to buy. Be very thorough when you inspect the home with your real estate agent, and if you see several other families looking at the home at the same time, definitely pull the listing agent aside and ask for a second showing. 6 - Be Prepared To Compromise There's no perfect home and don't lose sight of that. There are shows on TV that romanticize the process of building or buying a home to perfection, but that just isn't the case outside of reality TV. You should think ahead of time which facets of a home you're willing to compromise on. Perhaps that missing walk-in closet in the master bedroom isn't as important as the guest bathroom in the front of the house. Just be willing to compromise to get the best deal possible on a home you'll throughout living there. 7 - Avoid Bidding Wars If you really feel in love with a home, it's easy to throw an extra set of thousands of dollars to outbid your contemporaries, but that cane easily throw you out of budget. We also competitive creatures, so the only ones laughing at the end of a bidding war are the listing agent and home owner. Don't let your emotions take over, stick to your initial budget, and make smart decisions. 8 - Buy Homeowners Insurance Before buying a new house, your lender will require you to purchase homeowners insurance. Don't always take their recommendation, they probably get kickbacks for their referral. Shop around for the best price and deals over time. This is a very important factor and you can't settle here. Smaller plans will cover less and require more out-of-pocket expenses if you file a claim. It's important to remember your insurance company can drop you if the condition of your house is not up to par!
Countertop Choices Going Into 2018 1 - Tile Kitchen Counters Tile kitchentops are among the cheapest surfaces to install in your kitchen. If you have experience in home design, these can even be in the DIY category for restricted budgets. Ceramic or stone tiles are extremely durable and will definitely be in good condition when you pass it along to your future home buyers. One of the downsides is that the grout in between the tiles (an unfortunate necessity in this surface) is that maintenance can be a bit difficult. Stains are very possible depending on the type of material, so be careful with them. 2 - Plastic Laminate Kitchen Counters Don't let those stone-lovers put down the idea of plastic laminate! Especially in 2017, the surface has become extremely popular. It's extremely flexible as a surface and easily customized to your particular requests. In the $8 to $20 per square foot price, it's on the cheaper side of countertop choices. Heavy duty cookers may not enjoy this surface as it's not very durable. It's always something to consider, especially for first time home buyers under 35. 3 - Soapstone Kitchen Counters If you can remember high school chemistry, the laboratory surfaces were covered in soapstone due to its incredible stain resistance. Chefs, listen up! There's virtually no substances that can stain soapstone. In the $80 to $100 per square foot range, it's one of the most expensive to install in your home, but if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen you won't regret your decision. This can be a lifetime investment in your home. 4 - Granite Kitchen Counters You were probably waiting for this one! This has been, and will continue through 2018, to be the most popular countertop choice. There are so many unique grains, plenty of character, many colors and choices of finishes. There's no home that a granite counter top won't fit in, which makes it so popular. It can be as low as $50 per square foot, so it's even affordable for new home buyers. 5 - Copper Kitchen Counters Copper countertops aren't the most popular so if you're looking for a unique look in your home this can be the way to go! Perfectionists... Stay clear! The worn and weather look is what you should expect, almost a bit rustic. Copper is a "live surface" as it reacts to the materials put on it. It makes a blend of matte colors, red, green, brown, etc. If you're looking for one of the most unique looks for your home, the $100 per square foot will be money well spent.
5 Items Successful People Have In Their Homes Everyone has a different idea of what it means to be successful, but there are some things one can have in their home to always push them towards their own vision of success. These are ideas to increase productivity, promote positive relationships in a home life, and improve your family’s health simultaneously. Here are five things to have in a home to push you towards success: 1 - A Means For Exercise We all try to make time to go to the gym and be active, but it takes a lot of time out of your day. If you have a means to exercise in your own home, this will promote both physical and mental health. This can be anything from a full set of weights, a treadmill, bike machine, to a yoga mat or jump rope. Regardless of your budget or space, there are always means for exercise in your own home. 2 - Isolated Space For Working In 2017, we can work from virtually anywhere as long as we have a smartphone and a wifi connection. There’s busywork for every career path from paperwork to emails and having an isolated space to do this work at home is crucial. Studies have shown that doing your work (or homework for children) in your bedroom hinders productivity. Your brain associate your bedroom with sleeping and rest which are the opposite of what you need while you are working. Having an isolated space for work in your home will allow you to be more productive and efficient with your time, ultimately giving you more free time to spend with your family. Every major CEO and business executive says that they have isolated spaces in their home to work. 3 - A Visual Reminder of Your Goals Countless studies have shown that having a physical display with your goals written on them drives you towards achieving them. If you put this in your bedroom, the first thing you will see when you wake up is your short term and long term goals of what you want to achieve. This is one of those small things you can do in your home, in under five minutes, that will have a long term impact on your life achievements. On a similar note, many believe that writing down your goals in a notebook everyday forces you to work harder towards achieving them. 4 - A Fully Stocked, Healthy Fridge We all know that eating healthy makes us feel and perform better, but very few do it. It costs a bit more to buy organic fruits, vegetables, and meat, but find it in your personal budget to afford better foods. You will think clearer, stay at a healthy weight, and best of all you’ll teach your children to eat healthy as well. Being “healthy” is much more than just what you eat. Being healthy is a full lifestyle. As human beings we need to exercise to perform on our highest level. We must sleep to allow our bodies to recharge. We must eat natural, healthy foods to refuel. Often overlooked, having a fridge full of healthy food will drive you towards success and achieving all your goals. 5 - A Dining Room With No TV Studies have shown that having a TV in a kitchen promotes overeating. When you’re concentrating on something other than your meal, you’re less aware of how full your stomach feels. By not having a TV in your kitchen or dining room, you’ll naturally spend less time in there as well. This will also promote conversation and interaction between your family members while you eat meals. We all love TV, but save it for after your mealtimes!
Five Kitchen Features For A Busy Household
Five Kitchen Designs for a Family-Friendly, Busy Household 1 - Durable Countertops If you have a busy household that probably means you have some young ones at home! They’re not always the neatest, so in a kitchen space it’s crucial to install durable countertops that are stain resistant, fingerprint-proof, and wipeable. Instead of highly polished stone, try something with a bit more texture, such as quartz surfacing or leathered granite (shown above). Order these surfaces with a satin finish so you can remove the minor scratches without calling in a professional! 2 - Kid-Safe Corners What kids don’t love running and sliding through the kitchen while you’re preparing a meal for them? Avoid those pointed corners on your countertops so you can finish cooking dinner without any added trouble. It’s a very simple (and inexpensive) detail that can save you many future tears from the younger members of the family. When you sell your home, future buyers will appreciate the foresight for rounded corners in your kitchen. 3 - Double Dishwashers We’ve all seen how quickly the dishes pile up... For a healthy, hungry family it gets hard to keep up with the demand for clean dishes. For a busy set of parents this is the last thing we want to deal with after a full day of work! If you plan your kitchen design correctly, no one regrets installing double dishwashers. This can help declutter your open kitchen by stashing away your dirty dishes instead of stacking up your sink or countertop. Multiple family members can load and unload dishes while dinner is being made too. 4 - Stay Connected! Five smartphones, three laptops, two iPads and some handheld video games…How do you charge them all? You don’t want power strips laying all over your kitchen! When remodeling your home, you’ll thank yourself later if you plan a convenient place to charge all these electronics. These have become so important to the younger generation, so convenient charging will make everyone’s lives easier in the family. 5 - Wipeable Wall Paint Shiny paints are always great for kitchen spaces. Rather than flat options, choose semi-gloss paint so it’s easy to wipe off spaghetti sauce, fingerprints, and the occasional childhood paintings on your beautiful white walls. If your paint is glossed you’ll give yourself an extra layer of protection!
Four Kitchen Trends Going Into 2018 - D&Y Designs
Just like any other creative industry, there are trends and fads that come and go. We like to stay current so we can make homes as modern possible. 2017 has been packed with new trends in the home renovation market, so here are our thoughts on the four major trends that are here to stay! 1 - Open Layouts More and more people are done with isolated kitchens! Supported by a connected and more casual lifestyle, many homeowners prefer an open layout for their kitchen. This trend has been driven by informal dining arrangements and comfortable cooking setups. While hosting company, open kitchens encourage interaction between you and your guests, which is a trend we believe will continue into 2018. 2 - LED Lighting With recent advantages in its technology, LED lighting has stepped away from its cold, unfriendly look towards a bright and warm tone. Designers have gotten far more creative with the use of LED lights to compliment different components of your kitchen. Light up a toe-kick, illuminate the work space beneath your upper cabinets, or perk up your center island. LED’s use less electricity than traditional bulbs and last longer than fluorescent or halogen bulbs. 3 - Deep Cabinets As people constantly add to their kitchen appliances, they like keeping their old ones too... This requires more storage space in your kitchen, or at least optimizing the space you already have! Deep cabinets are simple to integrate into all types of kitchen designs. Add-ons, like pegboard and drawer organizers keep drawers tidy and prevent clutters! 4 - Wood(like) Floors Hardwood floors have always kept kitchens warm and cozy, and this trend is not going anywhere any time soon. The material is adaptable to any atypical kitchen design and beautifully unites rooms in an open layout (complements our first 2018 prediction!). Porcelain planks that look like wood have slowly become more popular, the look is just as inviting and the surface is far easier to maintain.